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Nats Stock Watch: Uggla’s heroics the lone bright spot

Apr 29, 2015, 1:00 PM EST

Photo by USA Today

Each week this season, we’ll take the temperature of the Nationals roster to see whose stock is rising or falling.  

Record: 1-6

Team slash: .222/.287/.352

Team ERA: 5.95

Runs per game: 3.85

STOCK UP  

Dan Uggla, 2B: .364 AVG/ 1.364 OPS/ 6 RBI 

Uggla may have compiled most of his stats for the week during the Nats’ historic comeback over the Braves Tuesday night, but so what? He turned in what was undoubtedly the most impressive — and uplifting — performance at the plate this year for a club that sorely needed it. One night after saying his team needed to “sack up” following a sixth straight loss, the veteran second baseman backed up his words with action. He went 3-for-5 with a triple and a dramatic three-run homer in the ninth to help give the Nats a stunning 13-12 victory. Given how tough the rest of the week had been going, how could Uggla’s stock not be rising?

STOCK DOWN 

Doug Fister, SP: 0-1/ 6.70 ERA/ 1.80 WHIP  

This is a spot Fister rarely finds himself in because he’s usually one of the more consistent pitchers in the rotation. But he’s been pretty uneven lately, giving up 10 earned runs combined over his last two outings. And after not allowing a home run in his first two starts, he’s since yielded three. It may be too early to say this is a legitimate trend, but one thing to keep an eye on with Fister moving forward will be his percentage of ground ball outs. He’s already had two starts this year where he’s recorded eight ground ball outs or less. For reference, that only happened in five of his 25 starts last season. The sinker ball is such a huge part of his game; if it’s not on, he’s not the same pitcher.

Gio Gonzalez, SP: 0-1/ 5.0 IP/ 10.80 ERA 

It’s never a good thing when multiple starters are listed here, especially for a team that was expected to have the best rotation in the game. Gonzalez had a less-than-stellar outing Sunday against the Marlins, allowing six earned on 10 hits in just five frames. Yes, he was a victim of Wilson Ramos’ botched run down, but he was unable to work his way out of trouble in the following at-bats. Gio’s allowed three or more runs in three of his first four starts, and has yielded the most walks of any Nats pitcher with 11.

Tanner Roark, RP: 3 GP/ 0-1/ 5.06 ERA 

It’s no easy task to go from reliever to starter, then back to reliever again. That’s the takeaway from Roark’s season thus far as he’s been unable to carve out a niche in the Nats’ unsettled bullpen. He’s allowed runs in four of his seven appearances and has already been charged with two losses on the year, including Saturday’s 3-2 defeat to the Marlins. Perhaps things will straighten out for Roark down the line, but the last thing Matt Williams would want right now is to have another Ross Detwiler-esque situation with a former starter.

Jayson Werth, LF: .143 AVG/ .192 OBP/ .190 SLG   

When Werth was listed here a week ago, you could make the argument that he was still shaking off the rust after having recently come off the 15-day disabled list. But his struggles haven’t stopped, as he’s notched just seven hits (two of them for extra bases) in 48 at-bats. That’s probably not what Williams would want to see from one of his middle-of-the-order bats. So at what point does this become a concern? His track record certainly says that he’ll be work this out sooner rather than later. But after a tough April, Washington probably needs to see vintage Werth return in a hurry.

[RELATED: Uggla’s blast caps Nationals’ historic rally over Braves]

  1. natsjackinfl - Apr 29, 2015 at 1:06 PM

    Jose Valverde, huh? Another piece to Syracuse to see if anything is still in the tank.

  2. adcwonk - Apr 29, 2015 at 1:23 PM

    Span? In last week he’s .320, 4 RBI, 6 runs

    • acethehammer - Apr 29, 2015 at 1:27 PM

      Beat me to the punch. Span looks pretty bright.

      • therealjohnc - Apr 29, 2015 at 2:32 PM

        +2

        As soon as I saw the headline, my thought was “What about D. Span?”

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 29, 2015 at 2:37 PM

      Good job on that one as that’s what I was coming to say.

      BTW, based on your last post on Chipper, the guy has little class and it’s mostly because he’s not smart and has said many outrageous things that have been chronicled over the years. Nats128 put together a list of Twitter gaffes including the recent comments where he said Sandy Hook was a hoax. Before that it was alligators to curb immigration and it goes on and on.

      • adcwonk - Apr 29, 2015 at 2:49 PM

        Wow — I had no idea. Yuck.

        The only thing I knew of him personally before today was that he had met with, hmm, was it LaRoche?, last year, and gave him some tips, and helped him get out of his slump.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 29, 2015 at 2:59 PM

        He is very particular on the friends he keeps and the opinions he has. If I had the time to research it he is guilty of saying something outrageous in a post game interview.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 29, 2015 at 3:00 PM

        BTW, that was great what he did for ALR and also his words for Uggla but his history of abrasive comments is beyond belief.

  3. ehay2k - Apr 29, 2015 at 1:49 PM

    Werth had 2 sac flies last night. Hard to say he’s truly slumping if he’s driving in guys. Especially since people complain when the Nats don’t perform with RISP.

    • virginiascopist - Apr 29, 2015 at 2:02 PM

      I echo this comment. It should be easy to say in what amounted to a one-run ballgame that every run counts, but with all the (quite deserved) praise heaped on Uggla, Span and Lobaton last night, Werth’s two sacrifice flies have really gotten lost in the shuffle.

      • masterfishkeeper - Apr 29, 2015 at 2:08 PM

        Well, we really needed multiple run innings, not small ball, so I wouldn’t give Werth too much credit for the sac flies. When you’re down 8, productive outs are not a big help. Runners are. He did hit the ball hard, however, and I think he’s had some bad luck on BABIP.

      • jd - Apr 29, 2015 at 2:19 PM

        masterfishkeeper,

        100% correct. The concept of a productive out is so overstated it’s ridiculous. It is after all an out which by definition is a bad thing.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 29, 2015 at 2:39 PM

        Masterfishkeeper is right in this case where the deficit was so large but in the end Werth contributed 2 RBIs and that was productive. The Barves were just trying to get outs. It wasn’t like they had a drawn in infield.

      • scmargenau - Apr 30, 2015 at 12:10 AM

        Umm those two RBI productive outs were the difference in the game

    • JamesFan - Apr 29, 2015 at 3:15 PM

      Werth’s two sac flies are lost in his .143 batting average. He joins Zim and Espinosa as responsible for this lack of offense and hence the bad start. The center of the lineup has not hit since the playoffs last year. Teams obviously pitch around Harp because he has no protecttion. The Nats cannot count on Uggla and Lobaton to deliver the offense.

      Leaving Cole in the game to give up 9 was cruel. Starting him in the first place was stupid.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Apr 29, 2015 at 3:54 PM

        It wouldn’t have been 9 if he’d fielded his position.

      • ehay2k - Apr 29, 2015 at 4:48 PM

        Werth has 48 ABs in 57 PAs. You are griping over a very small sample size.

  4. Theophilus T.S. - Apr 29, 2015 at 1:56 PM

    I’d take a flyer on Lobaton. First, he has reaffirmed that the Nats have a viable backup at catcher. Second, maybe Ramos needs more time off. In any event he hasn’t shown much of anything Lobaton can’t provide for a day or two. Third, maybe the pitchers need to hear it from another source. Because whatever Ramos is calling isn’t fooling anybody.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 29, 2015 at 2:41 PM

      Lobaton needs 2 days a week at least but there are pitchers he matches up with well and congrats to MW for exploiting that matchup.

    • homeparkdc - Apr 29, 2015 at 2:54 PM

      Big Lobaton fan here. Quotes saved from last year:
      “Nationals pitchers had a 2.86 ERA throwing to Lobaton in 64 games while posting a 3.10 ERA to Ramos in 87 games.” WaPo

      “Perhaps more important, however, was his work with the Nats pitching staff. Lobaton had a 2.87 catcher’s ERA this season (meaning pitchers posted a 2.87 ERA when working with Lobaton), which was the best mark in the majors of any catcher with at least 30 games behind the plate. Two pitchers in particular seemed to really work especially well with Lobaton – Fister put up a 1.53 ERA in 11 games working with Lobaton, while Stephen Strasburg posted a 2.66 ERA in 14 games with the 30-year-old catcher.” MASN

      • virginiascopist - Apr 29, 2015 at 3:06 PM

        I’m a big Lobaton fan as well, and truly believe that if there was a silver lining to Ramos hitting the DL in the very first game last season, it’s that Lobaton was pressed into service and able to develop a great relationship with all the pitchers (Strasburg in particular) which may have taken much longer to develop had the injury to Ramos not happened.

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